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OPIC Announces Plans to Join Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women and IFC in the Women Entrepreneurs Opportunity Facility, Committing $100 Million to Enable 100,000 Women to Access Capital



Monday, July 27, 2015

(OPIC) 

NAIROBI -- In remarks made during the 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Summit, President Barack Obama announced that the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. government’s development finance institution, plans to join Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women and International Finance Corporation (IFC) in the Women Entrepreneurs Opportunity Facility (WEOF). As part of the planned commitment, OPIC intends to finance up to $100 million in new projects under the facility.

Launched in 2014, the first-of-its-kind $600 million finance facility aims to help close an estimated $285 billion credit gap for women-owned small and medium enterprises (SMEs) around the world and reach 100,000 women entrepreneurs globally. To date, the facility has completed nine transactions totaling $180 million in nine countries that will reach 25,000 women entrepreneurs. OPIC’s involvement will continue to increase the reach of the facility and the number of women who have access to formal credit through new transactions in OPIC-eligible countries.

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women and IFC provided anchor investments of more than $150 million to create the facility last year. Through this partnership, the institutions are working with local banks in emerging markets to catalyze existing capital for women-owned SMEs by addressing barriers in the lending market such as unsuitable product offerings and credit terms. For example, in the past year, the facility began collaborating with Chase Bank Kenya Ltd, the only bank with dedicated branches for women in Kenya, to expand their portfolio of loans to women-owned SMEs. The Facility is also working with local banks in eight other countries, including Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, India, Indonesia and Laos.

“With a development finance portfolio reaching over 100 countries worldwide, OPIC aims to create inclusive, bottom-up economic growth across the developing world,” said Elizabeth Littlefield, OPIC’s President and CEO. “This Goldman Sachs initiative is well-aligned with OPIC’s mission, and I look forward to the possibilities that can result from OPIC and IFC’s participation in it. Empowering women to lead more of global business, especially at the SME level, is necessary for whole-of-society development progress.”

“A wide range of surveys including Goldman Sachs research shows that one of the biggest obstacles to growth for women entrepreneurs is access to capital and closing this gap could increase per capita income by 12% in emerging markets,” said Dina Habib Powell, head of Goldman Sachs’ Impact Investing business and president of the Goldman Sachs Foundation. “This new commitment will help bring us closer to our goal of getting more capital into the hands of women entrepreneurs who will drive future growth and job creation in economies around the world.”

“Nearly three-quarters of small- and medium-sized businesses owned by women have little or no access to financial services. Addressing that need will create jobs and improves lives for future generations. Partnerships like this are the key to making it happen.’ said Jin-Yong Cai, Executive Vice President and CEO, IFC.